The Free Magazine from the Barnsley Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale
Barnsley Ale Report
BEST OF THE YEAR
Old No.7 Barnsley and Wortley Mens Club
Barnsley CAMRA Pub of the Year 2020 Old No7, Barnsley
[Pictured; Carol and Stuart]
Members of Barnsley CAMRA chose the Pub of the Year winner back in February but were unable to make any presentations; even now the presentation was done behind closed doors. Congratulations go to the winner, Old No7, Market Hill, Barnsley. Landlady Carol said ‘On behalf of everyone at the Old No7, we are delighted and very proud to be awarded Pub of the Year 2020 by Barnsley CAMRA.
Even though we haven’t been able to celebrate outwardly in a manner it fully deserves (because of the pandemic), we are partying on the inside!!! We are very proud of the staff, who work hard to achieve high standards, of the beers, which sell themselves, and of our valued friends and customers who have helped to make these strange times beer-a-ble’!! Thank you to everyone involved. We hope to continue pouring happiness in a glass at the Old No7 as long as No10 will allow us!
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Barnsley CAMRA Club of the Year 2020 Wortley Men’s Club, Wortley
[Pictured; Caroline and Bob Ballard, Club secretary and Teresa and Nigel Pickering, club steward] Congratulations go to the Wortley Men’s Club, Wortley who were eventually awarded our Club of the Year Award 2020. The club was chosen as the winner in February by members of the branch. Steward Nigel Pickering said ‘We are absolutely delighted to receive the certificate for BARNSLEY CAMRA CLUB OF THE YEAR 2020. Due to the current circumstances the presentation was done by Nigel, Barnsley CAMRA’s secretary, and took place behind closed doors.
We always feel very grateful and honoured when receiving these awards and each one holds just as much pride and sentiment as the previous. It is an incredibly proud achievement for us and it hurt not to be able to share the presentation with you all as usual. This Club is and always will remain stronger when we are together. Thank you to all our members, staff, committee and suppliers for your continued support.’
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Barnsley CAMRA Pub of the Year 2020 Runner-Up The Jolly Tap on the Arcade, Barnsley Congratulations go to the Jolly Tap on the Arcade who picked up Runner-Up in the 2020 Pub of the Year award. The pub was picked by Barnsley CAMRA branch members back in February.
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The Tap, in the Barnsley’s Victorian Arcade, was the first micro-pub in town and was set up by the then owners of 2Roses brewery (now Nailmaker) in 2017. In July 2019, it reopened as the long-awaited brewery tap for Jolly Boys Brewery (see page 24). In normal times three of the brewery’s own beers are on offer, plus a guest, usually from somewhere local.
Visit Our Pubs The Jolly Tap
the Arcade Steph Shaw fromonthe pub says “We’re proper buzzing about this award! Barnsley
The Jolly Tap
Thanks to every one of our customers 43 Northgate who’ve helped us on our journey so far! The best is yet to come.” Wakefield
[Picture; Steph Shaw]
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Pub, Club and Brewery News
(Please n.b. what’s below was written before our local journey into Tier 3 and its consequences for pub closures)
There was much sadness in Darton when the owners of the Old Co-op Ale House announced that they wouldn’t be reopening after lockdown because it would no longer be possible to operate in the same way – especially putting on live music. However the grief was brief as local brewers Nailmaker, who already owned the building, have stepped in to run what is now the Anvil Arms. The interior isn’t much changed apart from a brighter colour scheme and the beer line up is as good as ever. The six handpumps feature three Nailmaker ales, a guest beer and two ciders. The eight keg beers are mostly of the ‘craft’ variety, including more Nailmaker products. Opening times are 5 Wed-Thur, 4 Fri, 12 Sat and 2 Sun. With the Darton Tap still going strong, the village remains a must visit for the discerning drinker. Nailmaker are currently moving and expanding their cold room and brewhouse which will create space to build an on-site Tap Room – should be open in the new year.
Very welcome news from Goldthorpe where a new micropub, the Corner Tap, opened in September on the corner of High Street and Barnburgh Lane. It has three handpumps and early offerings included Rat White Rat, Nailmaker Chocolate Safari and Titanic Plum Porter. Detailed report in the next issue.
Another new micropub, in the former photographer’s studio at 66 Agnes Road, Barnsley, is scheduled to open in midNovember. The main bar will be a typically cosy micropub size but there are also snugs at the back and to one side. A large upstairs room might also come into use as a ‘phase two’ development. There will be four handpulls plus two T-bars for keg and cider. The pub will be called Heaven & Ale. Again, a full report next time. Over in Penistone, the White Heart, which has been closed for a year or so, has been bought by local businessman Miles Rodgers, who owns three other licensed premises in the town. Renovation work is under way and we understand it will reopen with its old name, the New Inn. Mr Rodgers has also obtained planning permission to convert the former NatWest bank premises in Market Street to a drinking establishment.
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Pub, Club and Brewery News
a pub and a developer has now submitted a planning application for residential conversion. CAMRA has objected to this on the grounds that permanent closure of this sizeable village’s only pub would be a serious loss of a key community facility. We have also objected to an application to turn the Hope Inn, Cundy Cross into a wardrobe showroom. This is now the only pub in quite a large area and should, in the right hands, be a viable proposition. Planning permission has been given for the former Royal Bank of Scotland in Church Street, Barnsley to be converted to licensed premises though whether that will go ahead in the present circumstances remains to be seen. Further down Market Street, the local Whitefaced brewery are looking to convert the former bookies next to the Spread Eagle into a bar with their brewery at the back. What’s more, a few doors down, Ian Moody intends opening the Penistone Beer Shop, offering a wide selection of bottled and canned beers plus other drinks and bar snacks. Ian has applied for a full licence so that he can also run ticketed tasting evenings. These developments will be a major boost for the local quality beer scene – as we said in our last edition, Penistone currently underperforms quite badly on this front. Another brewery aiming to open a Tap is Jolly Boys. They have applied for a premises licence at their Redbrook Business Park brewery.
The Ship, Worsborough Bridge has been shut a long time and is now surrounded by fencing. However, owners Ei Group are still advertising for new tenants and promising a major refurbishment so we’ll see. The system of screens installed at Maison du Biere, Elsecar has seen it recognised in the national press (and featured on Look North) as a Covid-safe venue. It has also had an external refurbishment with new seating. The Hoyle Mill Inn, Hoyle Mill has been closed and on the market for some time, with the asking price gradually coming down, most recently to just £175k. This has had the desired effect as an ‘Under Offer’ sign has appeared. Here’s hoping the buyer wishes to retain it as a pub.
The White Bear, Kexborough has been closed and on the market for some time. Sadly, nobody has come forward to buy it as
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ANOTHER TAP TURNS ON
A couple of years ago, Ian Simpson and David Staniland a.k.a Woolley Pubs Ltd, opened the excellent Darton Tap in, well, Darton. They’ve now followed it up with the Dodworth Tap which occupies the former Station Inn in that village. Between May, when the purchase was completed, and 30 July when it reopened, the building was given a thorough makeover. Firstly, the rendered exterior was blasted back to the beautiful original stone – the work revealing that it had previously been painted black, cream, red, green and the final pink. Inside, the same team that stylishly designed the Darton Tap, Nanu Soda of Wakefield, worked their magic, resulting in another great mix of the contemporary and traditional. Star feature in the latter category is undoubtably the amazing semi-circular stone fireplace which was uncovered during strip-down. Ian believes this pre-dates the use of the building as a pub by at least 100 years though research continues. Whilst admiring the fireplace, observe the window to its left which commemorates the name of the pub – the Rose & Thistle – before the railway arrived in 1860. Other design features include more exposed stone, an unusual
trompe l’oeil ceiling, a solid wood floor with a section of black and white tiling, varied lighting and, as at Darton, a large mural of the former local colliery (undated because, Ian says, nobody can agree when it opened). Outside is, firstly, a courtyard with its own bar for use in busy periods and the ‘dungeon’, an inside area developed in a former brick-lined garage. The plan is to glass this area over in due course to form a large conservatory. Up some steps is a big patio garden that still needs a little work but should be fully ready for when the sun shines again.
On the beer front, four handpumps serve mostly local ales. On my visit these were all from Yorkshire - the house beer, Top House, Rat White Rat, Nailmaker Clout Stout and Black Sheep Bitter. Top House is brewed by Nailmaker and is a fine example of a traditional drinking bitter; it’s sold as Tap Watta at Darton and has been so well received that Nailmaker are rolling it out more widely as Yorkshire Bitter (the pub is known by many villagers as ‘the top house’ given its position).The popularity of the White Rat means it will likely be permanent with the other two pumps changing regularly. There’s also a wide range of quality keg beers including the prize-winning Chieftain IPA from Franciscan Well. Lots of bottled beers, fruit beers, ciders and gins as well.
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ANOTHER TAP TURNS ON
Ian is delighted with how well the pub has been received in these difficult times. Table service has been the rule since the off so that change didn’t affect them, whilst customers seem to be adjusting to the new hours. The pub is closed on Mondays then opens at 5 Tue-Thur, 2.30 Fri and 12 Sat-Sun. When they opened in Darton, Ian and David perceived unique advantages in being close to a station, other good pubs and some classy food outlets – all the ingredients for a great night out. The Dodworth Tap enjoys just the same favours. Woolley Pubs are on the lookout for further outlets so all power to their elbow.
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DELAYED DELIGHT FOR SMITHY ARMS
When, back in February, Barnsley CAMRA selected the Smithy Arms as its Spring Pub of the Season, there was little sign of things to come and a presentation was arranged for 26 April. Then, something happened…
of the former – along with the cosiness and friendliness usually found in such establishments. You’ll find bench seating round two walls, a flagged floor and lots of framed photos and pictures, plus a splendid Barnsley Bitter sign. At the back, a small beer garden/patio has great views out to the hills. On the real ale front, three beers are offered in normal times but the range may necessarily be restricted until those happy days return. Most beers come from local breweries though the occasional more exotic guest puts in an appearance. Dave has been very happy with the way the pub has developed and it has become popular not just with locals but with Sunday walkers. At the time of writing, the pub opened 6pm on Thursday, 5pm on Friday, 3pm on Saturday and 12.30pm on Sunday.
As our photo shows, we finally got to present landlord Dave Cross with his certificate and the pub has done its best to keep going in these difficult times – particularly tricky for small places like this. Dave opened the pub in December 2017, having extended his garage to accommodate it. The smartly appointed L-shaped bar is at the crossover point between a micropub and a small pub but with social distancing measures in place it currently only has the capacity
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HANNAH AT THE HOB Old recipes & new behaviour. The Times They Are a-Changin’ . Bob Dylan. Recipes. I have been sorting out recipe folders and press cuttings belonging to myself or my mother. Decades ago I created templates using LOTUS software but I cannot open those now. I did, though, discover from the printed version that my 1990’s food favourites have not changed. My mother’s notes included useful information e.g. the size of the frozen turkey she bought for Xmas 1980 and how long she left it in my old bedroom to defrost plus other detail including the central heating being off and the weather cold. She then added notes on cooking times and oven temperatures. This made me think about the historical value of these personal collections and the associated nostalgia. We assume they represent the dishes that were cooked by our grandmothers but this may be false. I believe that they represent our food interests and ideas and were rarely actually made. Like my mother, I make a large range of different meals, week in a week out and I never need a recipe. My recipe collection is about cooking for leisure and for special events. However, I still refer back to my school recipe book, The Art of Home Cooking - The Stork Cookery Service. I can remember sending an S.A.E to obtain a free copy. (Stamped addressed envelope) You may have the other favourite book by Be-Ro. Both useful to check the basics such as how thick to roll out a scone mixture. Be-Ro has an interesting history. In the 1880s Thomas Bell had a wholesale grocery business in Newcastle and his best selling brands were Bells Royal baking powder & self raising flour. The word Royal had to be dropped after the death of Edward VII so Bell used the first two letters from each word. The Be-Ro book originates from the exhibitions of the 1920s when the public sampled freshly baked scones and cakes using the more expensive
and novelty self-raising flour. They demanded the recipes and the company produced the recipe book to encourage home baking and Be-Ro products. Serving food. Plates please. I am fed up with wood platters, mini pots of tartare sauce, chips in watering cans etc. I am not enthusiastic about chapatis served in raffia baskets either. I disliked the favourite of the 1970s chicken/ scampi in a basket, known affectionately as rat in a basket. Can you still buy that type of chicken portion which included the rib cage? More rant, I want sachets of ketchup not a bottle or plastic tomato shaped container. I do not want to use something that has had the end dipped in the food or wiped with a sweaty finger. Don’t start me on butter in jam and toast crumbs in butter. Will Covid 19 mean using china that can be boiled in a dish washer? On the topic of hygiene, will there be a stop to the disgusting habit of blowing out birthday candles? Now we come to tear & share bread and sharing plates. I am greedy and I do not want to share. I also suspect the motive of portion control and profit maximisation. Sausages, roast vegetables or falafels served in a hot cottage loaf. This is a good party dish; the bread keeps the filling hot and absorbs any oil. There is the option to tear up the bread and eat that too. Either make a cottage loaf, like my mother did, or buy a cob loaf from the supermarket. In either case, heat it until very hot, cut off the top and remove the inner dough to use another day, with soup. Put the hot sausages/ vegetables/falafels into the hot loaf cavity & replace the lid. Serve, with tongs?
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8. 50 r y £ 50 e v r Ca £4. er ts s s e D
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Visit Our Pubs The Jolly Tap on the Arcade
The Jolly Tap 43 Northgate
A MEETING WITH MIRIAM CATES MP
In September, Dave Pickersgill (Sheffield & District Branch) and I had a short Zoom meeting with Miriam Cates, whose Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency straddles both our Branch areas.
We mentioned that there are now 153 community-owned pubs in the UK, none of which have yet gone bust. Miriam was very interested in how this figure could be increased, especially locally, and we have supplied her with information. She is keen to see a growth in small independent retailers. The Pubs Code was introduced in 2016 with the aim of establishing a fairer relationship between the big pub companies and their tenants but it had so far had little impact (though see the story elsewhere on a subsequent development). We believed that an urgent review of the Code was required and Miriam promised to write to the relevant Minister about this.
Inevitably, our first topic was the perilous position that many of our pubs had found themselves since reopening in July, having invested dwindling reserves to do so safely and securely in line with guidance. On top of that, trade was down by an average of 45% in pubs and 63% in bars. We felt that more support was needed as they struggled to reestablish, including extension of the furlough scheme. Miriam believed the scheme had been a major success but favoured it ending after October as, with government debt now at 100% of GDP, it was financially unsustainable to do otherwise – the priority now had to shift to creating new jobs. She did though agree that pubs are vital to local communities. We then discussed the recent VAT cut on food and soft drinks but which excluded alcohol, to the detriment of the 60% of the country’s pubs that are ‘wet-led’. Miriam defended the difference on the grounds that lines must be drawn somewhere and difficult decisions made accordingly.
CAMRA would be requesting an extension to the business rates holiday for pubs that runs out next March and we also want reforms to the rates system to create a low multiplier for hospitality businesses generally. Miriam supports the need for business rates reform and, like us, believes that rates should be based on takings not the size of the property. We also discussed the problems faced by local breweries – there are two small ones, Whitefaced and Korrupt, in Miriam’s constituency. They, along with many others, extensively use aromatic hops from Central Europe, New Zealand and the USA and we have big concerns about supply, in terms of both continuity and cost, once we leave the EU. Miriam stated that it’s vital we get a free trade agreement and we should put everything into negotiating that deal. We’re grateful to Miriam for her time. I’ll now try to set up meetings with our Barnsley MPs.
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OPEN AT LAST
cans. Andrew is a true beer enthusiast so you can be guaranteed a top-quality pint here. He has been pleasantly surprised, considering the pub’s recent history, how well the real ales are selling, enabling quick rotation of offerings.
Last autumn, we reported in BAR that the George & Dragon, Summer Lane, Barnsley, which had been a keg-only pub for some years, had been bought by Andrew Page and his sister Diane. Andrew was then managing the award-winning Robin Hood at Altofts but, as a Barnsley lad, was keen on opening up a traditional, real ale-friendly pub in tarn. Diane also has experience in the licensed trade, including locally. The opening was planned for November but unforeseen circumstances delayed the start of work on the building until late January. Everything then went smoothly towards a planned opening in late March/ early April. As the great day approached, beer was delivered and finishing touches applied – but we all know what happened next. Anyway, come July the pub could finally open its doors and what a great addition to the Barnsley beer scene it turns out to be. The four handpumps dispense an ever-changing selection of local beers, with at least three different breweries usually represented and a dark beer normally available. Quality keg beers from Magic Rock may be joined by a Nailmaker product and Magic Rock also comes in
The pub itself is quite small and cosy. The main bar has comfy bench seating round most walls and has been very tastefully decorated including a fine selection of framed prints on the walls. The bandits, jukebox and Sky Sports that formerly adorned this area have all gone. Up steps is a delightful second space with padded leather chairs and couches to relax on. Outside is a sizeable patio that proved very popular during the summer’s warmer interludes. With the Tipsy Cow and Tin ‘Oyle just up the hill and the Moulders close by, this is becoming a great part of town for quality drinking. At the time of writing, the Commercial hadn’t yet reopened but here’s hoping it too joins the party before long.
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RANDOM RAMBLES No. 7 – Cundy Cross to Grimethorpe
How this works - I draw from a hat the names of two places in the area and visit pubs these and at two places in between. This time the starting point was Cundy Cross on the eastern edge of Barnsley. Until quite recently, Cundy Cross had three pubs. The Priory Arms on the crossroads shut in 2010 and is now a plumbing centre whilst, as mentioned in Pub News, the Hope Inn is the subject of a planning application to convert it into a no doubt much-needed wardrobe shop - which leaves just
space with its hefty stone walls, flagged floor and huge beams – it has to be seen to be believed. Initially, a handpump served Acorn Barnsley Bitter and there was a good selection of bottled beers. Unfortunately, I found the beer selection radically reduced with a bottle of Black Sheep the only offering that appealed. As we’ll see, this was to become a theme of this ramble. On the positive side, the Mill has now established a great reputation for its food (‘the best place to eat in Barnsley’ said a recent Trip Advisor review) and the menu, with all food freshly cooked, certainly looked enticing. There are different lunchtime and evening selections with the latter majoring on pasta dishes, burgers and pizzas plus ‘Mill Favourites’ like Pan Chicken and Rib Eye Steak. Breakfast is served Saturday morning and Sunday Lunch is very popular. There’s also a take-away/delivery service. Onwards, then, to Cudworth where our WhatPub guide records two pubs with real ale. I firstly poked my head into the Star to find the pumpclips turned round on both handpulls and was informed there was no cask beer ‘at the moment’.
the amazing Mill of the Black Monks. The building itself dates back to 1150 when it served the nearby Monk Bretton Priory but, by the 1980s, it had fallen into disrepair and suffered extensive subsidence. It was rescued by local architect Malcolm Lister who restored the building and converted it to pub use. In 1992 it won the Conservation category in CAMRA’s prestigious Pub Design Awards. However it closed as a pub in 2007 after being flooded (a sadly regular happening in this location) then reopened as an Italian restaurant followed by a period of closure (apart from illicit use as a cannabis factory!). In 2018, it came back as a pub under the stewardship of local folk Emma and Lee Bailey who have done a great job renovating the then-decrepit interior and highlighting all the wonderful features of the building – this despite a further big flood last year. The main bar is an especially atmospheric
On up the road, therefore, to the Victoria. Here, the handpumps had no clips at all and real ale seems to have disappeared altogether – so I settled for
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a half of Guinness. This is a big old Victorian pub which would once have had several rooms – indeed most of the walls and the door opening of what was presumably the lounge survive. The interior is, though, essentially open plan and, apart from the fine old windows, devoid of any real interest. It was reasonably busy on a Friday lunchtime with customers adjusting themselves to the justintroduced new requirements on face-masks and the like. Table service in a traditional boozer like this felt especially odd. A short hop now to the adjoining village of Shafton but, again, little in the way of hops. After refurbishment in 2010, the Fox & Hounds featured up to four real ales, including Acorn beers. However, the cask offering has diminished over time and on my last visit, about a year ago, only two handpumps survived and neither was dispensing beer. There’s now just a single pump and I was told that real ale is no longer served – so a half of John’s it had to be. The interior comprises a single, fairly plain, L-shaped room with a pool table in the middle of one arm. It does have an open fire though this wasn’t yet operational and the whole atmosphere, not helped by the absence of other customers, was pretty cheerless. Upstairs from the pub, and a separate business, is the excellent Prisanna Thai restaurant (see glowing report in the Spring 2019 BAR).
No real ale so far and I knew that none would be available at the final stop as the Red Rum, Grimethorpe has been a keg-only pub for many years. This is a Sam Smiths house, a brewery which has been notable for its low prices, with most beers just £2 a pint. However, on re-opening in July, Sam’s
imposed a £1 increase on ale prices (more on lager) to help cope with the financial effects of the crisis. To be fair, this brings their prices into line with most other local pubs – my half of bitter here was still 10p cheaper than at the Fox & Hounds. In the past, the cheap prices were offset by what wasn’t available at Sam’s pubs – no TV, no music, no use of phones or laptops, no contactless payment, certainly no swearing (all of which some would regard as a good thing). It’ll be interesting to see whether the firm’s gamble pays off. The Red Rum itself has a large public bar with a chequerboard tiled floor, a pool table in the middle of the room and leatherette benches all round. Numerous photos of Barnsley and district in Victorian times adorn the walls. At the back is a well-appointed lounge with more bench seating, fabric covered this time. It struck me as a very well kept and friendly local. In the 1996 film Brassed Off it featured as the Collier’s Arms – why it’s actually called after a famous, but not at all local, racehorse, I’ve no idea.
So, a ramble with zero real ale – what does that tell us? The whole area to the east of Barnsley has always been quite poorly served with cask beer outlets but the position has certainly deteriorated in recent years (hence why the news from Goldthorpe reported elsewhere is so welcome). The fact is that in many pubs that offered real ale, it was clearly not a big seller and if you don’t get the throughput then quality can’t be maintained. With the pandemic causing a massive drop in trade generally, it’s hardly surprising that a marginal but volatile product would go by the board. Here’s hoping that the happy day isn’t too far off when the pubs in this area that have survived the crisis feel confident enough to give real ale another go.
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THE RETURN OF TABLE SERVICE
As we all know, table service became mandatory for pubs in September. It’s not that long ago, though, since this was a common feature of the nation’s pubs and it never died out altogether. Go back 100 years or so and most pubs had a separate lounge or ‘best’ room where you could summon drinks by pressing a bell on the wall. A member of the serving staff or, in the busier pubs, a dedicated waiter would arrive to take and then deliver your order. In some pubs, several rooms offered table service in which case a box called an annunciator would be installed in the servery. When a bell was pressed, a disc (or similar) would oscillate in this contraption showing the source of the request. Some such boxes still survive, though long disconnected. Not all pubs had bell systems, some having waiters who would prowl the premises looking for likely customers (and expecting a small tip if their services were used). By the 1960s, table service was common in only a few areas like West Yorkshire and the North West. I can remember one large pub in my home town of Chorley (Lancs – sorry) which still employed peripatetic waiters in the 1970s. However, by 2017, the practice survived in just a handful of pubs, such as the Volunteer Canteen in Waterloo, Liverpool and the Clep Bar, Dundee. Probably the best example, though, is the Arden Arms in Stockport. The working bell pushes here are in the ‘select’ room behind the bar which you can only access by walking through the servery with the permission of the staff (only two other pubs are known to have this arrangement – the superb Bridge Inn, Topsham, Devon and the currently-closed Ye Horns, Goosnargh, Lancs). Once ensconced you’ll
find bell pushes not only on the wall but in the centre of the tables. Staff do respond to a ring even though they’re only inches away. Not long ago, J D Wetherspoon introduced their app which enables customers to order at their table – the digital equivalent of pressing a bell though more efficient as it requires only one visit from a member of staff. It obviously paid dividends for them as they continued to encourage its use and, as anyone who has tried to get served in a busy ‘Spoons will know, the advantages for the customer are obvious. Most of their pubs are now divided into app service and ‘traditional’ service areas though in Scotland, use of the app seems to be pretty much compulsory. Until the recent edict, the only other table service introduction I’d encountered was at Wigan Central, a brilliant railway-themed micropub in, well, Wigan. Here, a railway signal is placed on each table and if you raise it, a member of staff will attend to your supping needs. Anyway, looks like we’ll all have to get used to table service for quite some time. Personally I like it though whether most staff feel the same is another matter.
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WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
I’m writing this on the day Tier 3 COVID restrictions were imposed in South Yorkshire, meaning, among other things, that all bars and pubs have had to close unless they offer ‘substantial’ meals. In those outlets, alcohol can only be served with a meal. The closures will be for at least 28 days – any delay beyond that will eat into what is traditionally the busiest time of the year for pubs. This isn’t the place to debate whether hospitality venues have been fairly treated compared with other places where people congregate, though many of us have strong views on that subject. The fact is that of the 982 pubs in South Yorkshire, 655 don’t serve substantial meals whilst the business model of most of those that do will be adversely affected. When pubs reopened in July, trade was initially significantly down – to around 40% on average. The 10pm curfew and requirement to provide table service then made things even more difficult as did the brief foray into Tier 2 with its ban on socialising between households. In some ways, Tier 3 is preferable to Tier 2 for ‘wet-led’ pub businesses as they can draw on higher levels of financial support (though the Chancellor has just announced enhanced support for Tier 2 businesses so that ‘advantage’ has diminished). Whether this will be sufficient to see all these pubs through the period of enforced closure remains to be seen – casualties are surely inevitable. For pubs that offer food, the position is less clear cut and I can do little better than quote what the Talbot, Mapplewell had to say on Facebook yesterday:
will Saturday bring; will it be another hit on trade? Or will more people come out to eat and drink because they have no other option? We just don’t know. What we do know is we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place; if we were a restaurant in Tier 2 we would get the support announced yesterday, if we were a wet only pub in Tier 3 we would close and our staff would be supported, but a pub/ restaurant in Tier 3 falls through the cracks; we are not forced to close and we don’t get any support. The part time wage top scheme doesn’t apply because we need more staff than ever to follow the guidelines and operate safely. Your support has been fabulous, we really appreciate it and we need it now more than ever. Thank you CAMRA is calling for a long-term package of financial support covering pubs and brewers in all tiers to help them cope with reduced (or no) trade. Chief Executive Tom Stainer says ‘This would make sure we avoid permanent mass pub closures and keep our locals, which are at the heart of our communities, open and alive through the difficult weeks and months ahead’. Please consider emailing your MP to call for proper government support to help pubs survive. In the meantime, do please support those pubs that have remained open for food and drink and also our local brewers, most of which are offering take-home services.
Last week was a huge blow and trade has taken another a hit. What
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True North Brew Co. is a Sheffield-based brewery and pub company who currently own 12 pubs. Most of them are in and around Sheffield itself but two are in our area – the Milton Arms, Elsecar and our dining destination, the Crown & Anchor, Barugh Green.
Part (OK, the main part) of our reason for visiting was that True North had extended the Dishy One’s 50% off meals Mon-Wed until the end of September and, on a Monday lunchtime, the place was wellpopulated with fellow bargain-lovers/ cheapskates. The pub building dates back to 1597 and was reputedly built by the first Royal Navy captain from the bows of the first Royal Naval vessel, though a South Yorkshire mining village sounds an unlikely venue for such a happening. The interior was comprehensively and tastefully refurbished in 2014 and comprises, within an L-shaped open-plan layout, a large restaurant section and drinking areas each side of the front door - we sat in one of the latter. There’s also a big back garden with views out to the moors (and M1).
Thirst things first and the handpumps were offering two True North beers – Stones Bitter and Blonde plus Acorn Yorkshire Pride and Ilkley Mary Jane. Stones was, apparently, the biggest selling bitter in the UK during the 1960s and 70s, brewed at the erstwhile Cannon Brewery in Sheffield. It then died a lingering death but True North have done a deal to re-create it with the brand owners, Molson Coors, who have also supplied the original yeast. I recall it as a refreshing but not especially tasty mainstream brew and so it was with the pint I tried – the subsequent Mary Jane was much more to my taste. On to the grub then and for starters I selected Beef Chilli Nachos (£5.95) while Jane went for Baked Camembert (£8.95). My portion of Nachos was huge – pretty much a meal in itself. Lots of tender beef was accompanied by the usual Mexican trimmings including a liberal sprinkling of red and green chillies (the Stones Bitter came into its own at this point). I could happily have moved straight to a pudding after this very satisfying opening but had already ordered my main. Jane’s Camembert was, like my Nachos, impressively presented on a wooden board. She pronounced it ‘melted to perfection’ with a good selection of adjuncts – toast, onion chutney, honey and black cumin. For her main, she had chosen Pan-fried Chicken Supreme (£13.30) which featured a ‘beautiful’ chunk of moist chicken in what was described as a ‘creamy chicken broth sauce’ that was more broth than cream but none the worse for it. Buttery mash potato and al dente green beans completed the picture and Jane enjoyed the dish a great deal.
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In normal circumstances, I’d have gone for the same thing but, for the purposes of this article, needed to choose something different and the choice was not sensible – absolutely no reflection on the pub I must stress. My dish was Meat & Potato Pie with chunky chips and mushy peas. (£9.50) What was I thinking, especially on top of the Nachos blow out? What arrived was delicious but a serious case of carb overload – additionally, the pie was encased in (lovely) suet pastry which soaked up my beer like nobody’s business. I hate not being able to finish a meal, particularly a good one, but this left me defeated and a pudding was sadly out of the question (as, indeed, was any food for the rest of the day). However, I brought all that on myself and can say without any doubt that the food here was excellent and that we’d certainly come again. Paul Ainsworth .
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During these ever changing covid-19 scenarios, one thing has been constant; our local breweries have been brewing and offering their cask, bottles and cans to the public through lockdown and now the Government’s Tier system. As I write this article South Yorkshire has moved into Tier 3, the highest of the three Tiers, meaning pubs that don’t offer a substantial meal must close and to have a pint or two in a pub the drinker must order a main meal. I am not writing this article to explain the rules to you - the Government can explain those as they change the rules every two to three days leaving everyone confused as to what we can do. I have used most of the brewery shops listed and everything is straight forward. Click and Collect, or delivery to your door, is offered by all the breweries and shops below except Jolly Boys who are, as I type, testing out canning beers so please keep an eye out for their beers, possibly in the off-licences listed. Please use the pubs and clubs when you can, as these are the best place to drink and even during these hard times I personally feel that the safest place outside my home is a well-run pub. Keep safe everyone Nigel Croft
Maison Du Biere Maison du Biere offers an off-licence and micro-pub and was the first none-cask pub to be given a place in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Maisondubiere.com/collection/all Over 500 beers on the website shop or call in at Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wath Road, Elsecar S74 8HJ
Whitefaced and Bottle and co Whiteface from Penistone produce an ever changing selection of beers. The easiest outlet for them is from Bottle and co, Mapplewell 33 Greenside, Mapplewell, Barnsley S75 6AU
Whitefaced brewery has now obtained permission to move their premises into central Penistone (see Pub News) and started moving on 1 November. They will still be rolling out free local deliveries.
Bottleandco.co.uk/shop-beer Bottle and Co is an off-licence offering over 500 beers on the website shop or call in.
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Geeves Brewery Founded in 2011 by father and son, Peter & Harry Geeves, who brew beers with a focus on big, characterful flavours. They experiment with the best ingredients from around the globe to bring you a diverse range of beers designed to excite your taste buds and satisfy your need for full, uncompromising flavour. (From their website)
Acorn Brewery Established in Wombwell in 2003, the brewery brews six core beers and a two to three signature beers each month. It has produced over 125 different single hopped IPA’s ,never using the same hop twice, and has amassed over 50 awards for their beers.
Currently seven beers available from their website shop, orders are by the case and include mixed cases.
Acorn-brewery.co.uk/buy-our-beer Unit 3, Aldham Ind Est, Mitchell Road, Wombwell, Barnsley S73 8HA
Jolly Boys Brewery If the Jolly Boys’ brewery was a person he’d get a round in. (Jolly Boys Website) At this moment the brewery is testing out canning on their Yorkshire Pale Ale (YPA) so please keep an eye out on social media etc to see where you’ll be able to buy it.
Unit 9 Darton Business Park, Barnsley Road, Darton, Barnsley S75 5NH
Jollyboys-brewery.co.uk (this website uses flash to view it)
Unit 12, Grange Lane Ind Est, Carrwood Road, Stairfoot, Barnsley S71 5AS Nailmaker Brewery The brewery in Darton offers around 16 beers from its brewery shop or website shop. The brewery brews 576 gallons per week.
Unit 16a, Redbrook Business Wilthorpe Road, Barnsley S75 1JN
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The Family Brewers of Britain by Roger protz
Available to pre-order today Member price ÂŁ19.99 (RRP ÂŁ25.00)
Britainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family brewers are stalwarts of beer making. Some date back as far as the 17th and 18th centuries and have survived the turbulence of world wars, bomb damage, recessions, floods, and the hostility of politicians and the temperance movement. This book, by leading beer writer Roger Protz, traces the fascinating and sometimes fractious histories of the families still running these breweries.
visit Shop.camra.org.uk this title is supported by the
Photo: Wortley Pea Fields - www.jimbarter.co.uk Printed by: Hot Metal Press - www.hotmertalpress.co.uk